In fact, the name gumbo is derived from the word for okra in several African languages, so okra is always the primary ingredient in any gumbo--as much a flavoring agent as a thickener.
Okra and file (sassafras powder) are rarely used in the same batch of gumbo; some people say that using both will make the gumbo too thick, and others even say that the two flavors cancel each other out.
File powder, on the other hand, should not be added until the very end of cooking; boiling file causes the whole pot of gumbo to become stringy and gummy.
Crayfish, found in gumbo and etouffee, are prepared like lobster and, like lobster, turn bright red when cooked.
Recommended items: Clam chowder, corn and shrimp chowder, seafood gumbo
, vegetable gumbo
, crawfish etouffee, fried chicken, oyster po-boy sandwich, catfish, Creole jambalaya, Last Supper combo platter for two (with fried chicken, catfish and short ribs), house fries, red pepper cabbage, candied yams, rum-sauced bread pudding, peach cobbler, sweet potato pie.
There is also gumbo aux herbes - a melange of greens and herbs said to be created originally for Good Friday.
If making a gumbo with seafood, add it at the last minute so it doesn't overcook.
Photo (Color) Serve up a pot of Chicken, Ham and Oyster Gumbo as the centerpiece of a festive Mardi Gras party.